Transition from primary to secondary school involves a period of rapid change that is challenging for both students and their families. It’s a time of celebration and excitement, but it can also be quite worrying and stressful for students and their families if they are not adequately prepared. This lesson encourages students to contemplate all the challenges they may face, in order to better prepare for them. We will also consider where students can seek help for each challenge or what they could do in the situation.

Year level



20 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies



Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students learn about challenges they might experience when starting at secondary school and potential strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand the challenges they may face when starting secondary school

  • identify where they can seek help or what they could do in response to each challenge they may face.

Materials needed

  • Whiteboard and markers

  • Butcher’s paper for each group

  • 2 different coloured markers for each group

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse the impact of changes and transitions, and devise strategies to support themselves and others through these changes (AC9HP8P02)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Creative and critical thinking:

  • Reflecting

  • Inquiring

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities (VCHPEP123)

Show details

Activity 1

Group brainstorm: Challenges

10 minutes

  1. Explain to students that today’s activity will focus on understanding challenges they might face when starting high school.

  2. Ask students to write in their notebooks their answers to the brainstorm question, ‘What challenges might we face when starting high school?’

  3. Prompt students with challenges they might face when starting at a new school (e.g. making friends, new routines, new teachers).

  4. Split students into their groups, and hand out butcher’s’ paper and a coloured marker per group.

  5. In groups, students discuss their answers and write them on the butcher’s paper.

  6. After a couple of minutes, ask groups to share some of their challenges with the class.

Activity 2

Group brainstorm: Overcoming challenges

10 minutes

  1. As you discuss the challenges suggested by each group, lead the discussion towards what students could do about each challenge.

  2. Ask students to use the second coloured marker to add the question, ‘What can we do, or where can we get help?’

  3. Students write a solution for at least two challenges they discussed.

  4. Students link each problem with the solution, building out the mind map. Some solutions may link to more than one example.

  5. Allow 5 minutes for students to discuss, and write down, how they could deal with each challenge or where they could get help.

  6. Ask each group to share some of the solutions they discussed.


No time displayed

Reinforce that while this is a time of rapid change and challenges, it is also an exciting time. Remind students that by considering the problems they may face, they are already better prepared for secondary school and are already armed with solutions to those problems.


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